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Keep On Learning
Continuing education and training remain important in an employers’ market
Government agencies, industries, associations and companies offer several avenues for continuing education and training (CET) here, but it is up to the individual to embrace it.
So says Singapore Institute of Management Holdings chief executive officer Lee Kwok Cheong, who heads leading private educational institution SIM Global Education (SIM GE).
Dr Lee feels that although this process can be a difficult one that involves stepping out of comfort zones and even disrupting careers, it allows people to take a step back to pursue something new to move forward.
“Industries are being disrupted through market forces. Most Singaporeans know of someone who has been put out of a job because their skills are no longer relevant for the company or business. So I believe they can sense the importance of CET,” he explains.
He adds that companies supporting CET will have a competitive advantage in the long run.
He also suggests that, in some way, market forces will eventually work to the advantage of employers who are proactive in constantly equipping their employees with the skills to stay relevant.
In contrast, those who are not proactive may not be able to survive in the long run.
Partnerships between institutions, like SIM GE and overseas universities, to offer tertiary programmes will allow young people to upgrade themselves with relevant skills.
SIM GE’s professional development arm also provides a platform for top senior executives and professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) to develop skills through executive programmes, business insight events and professional interest groups.
Putting Theory Into Practice
CET does not involve just attending a course, getting accredited and waiting for job opportunities. Dr Lee stresses that it also involves applying the new skills learnt.
In today’s competitive job market, applicants need to show prospective employers that they have the right mindset and can add value to the organisation.
He adds: “When it is an employers’ market, candidates will have to compete to get a good job. They will quickly realise paper qualifications are just the starting point.
“The competitive job market is compelling employees to stand out and differentiate themselves from the pack.”
Dr Lee also says that for fresh graduates with little work experience, a portfolio is essential.
This is where tertiary institutions and industries can play a useful role, collaborating to provide potential employees with real-world work experience in the form of internships and project placements.
For instance, SIM GE’s Career Chapters initiative allows students to deepen their industry knowledge via sector-related learning journeys, talks, competitions and symposiums. In addition, the SIM GE Alumni Mentorship Programme provides guidance for its students.
It is not all work either - students have opportunities to hone artistic and athletic skills in student clubs and out-of-classroom activities.
Through these avenues, SIM GE reinforces the importance of going beyond chasing paper qualifications.
SIM GE offers more than 80 academic programmes including diploma and graduate diploma courses as well as bachelor’s and master’s programmes with top-ranking and reputable universities from the United States, Britain, Europe and Australia.
It draws about 20,000 full-time and part-time students and adult learners from more than 40 countries.
Source: The Sunday Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction